Arms Control Wonk
The nuclear weapons, arms control, disarmament and nonproliferation podcast. Companion to the popular Arms Control Wonk blog (www.armscontrolwonk.com)
info_outline Saving the World with Datayo 10/09/2020
Saving the World with Datayo , director of and Deputy Director of the , joins Jeffrey and Scott to talk about Datayo, a project aimed at reducing nuclear risks and fostering a transparent, collaborative, and high-quality analytic information environment. Scott fawns over Datayo's video annotation capabilities for military hardware tracking, and Melissa talks about how much bandwidth Jeffrey's satellite imagery habits actually eat up. Everybody competes to correctly do the podcast's outro. Go check out Support us over at !
info_outline The Deal 10/09/2020
The Deal Now that a few episodes have dropped, Anne and Jeffrey talk about Jeffrey's new project, The Deal. Jeffrey chronicles how researchers like Corey Hinderstein chased down data before satellite imagery was so easily available, Wendy Sherman's incredible memory for names, and just how many BBs Jeffrey has in his car. The Deal tells the story of the Iran nuclear deal: how it came together, how it fell apart, and what that means for the rest of us. Hosted by Dr. Jeffrey Lewis, director of the East Asia Nonproliferation Program at the James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies at the Middlebury Institute of International Studies at Monterey. He tweets Learn more at and listen in at Apple Podcasts.
info_outline At The Brink 09/29/2020
At The Brink How do we step back from the brink and reduce the very real threat that nuclear weapons continue to pose? Nuclear weapons continue to impact people's lives, even if they are sometimes treated as historical threats of a prior era. Jeffrey and Aaron sit down with and Dr. , 19th Secretary of Defense, to discuss their work conducting interviews with and chronicling the personal stories of presidents, cabinet members, congressmen, nuclear physicists, atomic bomb survivors, military officials, and activists in their podcast, At the Brink, and through the William J. Perry Project. They've pulled together incredible personal stories and interviews with individuals involved in the negotiations of the Iran Deal, the exfiltration of bomb-grade uranium from Kazakhstan, and the implementation of the Nunn-Lugar program that reduce former Soviet nuclear stockpiles by over 4,000 devices. And, of course, a , featuring one Dr. Jeffrey Lewis. Links of Note: , and its parent project, the ,
info_outline The Deal Episode 1: The Revelation 09/08/2020
The Deal Episode 1: The Revelation In 2002, Corey Hinderstein, a young research analyst, follows a hunch after a routine press conference in Washington, D.C. The results of her scavenger hunt sparked a diplomatic crisis that stretched more than a decade, lasted through two presidencies, and ended with a deal that, depending on whom you ask, either “makes our country, and the world, safer and more secure” or is “a horrible deal that should never, ever have been made.” The Deal tells the story of the Iran nuclear deal: how it came together, how it fell apart, and what that means for the rest of us. Hosted by Dr. Jeffrey Lewis, director of the East Asia Nonproliferation Program at the James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies at the Middlebury Institute of International Studies at Monterey. He tweets @armscontrolwonk. Learn more at IranDealPodcast.com and listen in at .
info_outline The Deal: Promo 09/07/2020
The Deal: Promo The Deal: The story of the Iran nuclear deal; how it came together, how it fell apart, and what that means for the rest of us. Hosted by Dr. Jeffrey Lewis, director of the East Asia Nonproliferation Program at the James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies at the Middlebury Institute of International Studies at Monterey. You can find The Deal on or your preferred podcast platform.
info_outline Diamond Tempest in a Teapot 08/19/2020
Diamond Tempest in a Teapot In 2018, the US and the UAE conducted a joint military exercise called Diamond Tempest. While looking through still images and videos from the exercise, Jeffrey and his colleagues at CNS thought it would make a great case study. Just how much can we learn using open source tools? They were able to piece together a detailed timeline of the exercise and figure out which bits of footage didn't belong. Support us over at !
info_outline Lessons Learned from the War in Yemen 08/05/2020
Lessons Learned from the War in Yemen The war in Yemen has seen the highest usage of ballistic missiles since the Iraq War, and the highest usage of ballistic missile defense assets in any conflict, offering a preview of any future conflicts with Iran. Aaron and Scott talk about a new CSIS report, The Missile War in Yemen, the utility and difficulties in producing accurate datasets on ballistic missile usage in Yemen, and the operational lessons learned by air and missile defense strategists during the ongoing conflict in Yemen. Scott unironically uses the phrase "theory of missile power." Links of Note: Ian Williams and Shaan Shaikh's Missile War in Yemen, CSIS: Support us over at !
info_outline The Wollo-Ri Suspected Nuclear Warhead Manufacturing Facility 07/10/2020
The Wollo-Ri Suspected Nuclear Warhead Manufacturing Facility Another day, another suspected nuclear facility in North Korea. Anne and Jeffrey discuss the Wollo-ri Suspected Nuclear Warhead Manufacturing Facility. They discuss how the CNS team has monitored this site since 2015, the satellite imagery analysis that went into it, and Ankit Panda's impressive sourcing. They also discuss the immediate pushback, claims that this site is a training facility, and the open-source methods used to evaluate this site. Arms Control Wonk post on the Wollo-Ri Facility, by Catherine Dill, David Laboon, Jeffrey Lewis, and Dave Schmerler: CNN reporting on the Wollo-Ri analysis: Daily NK report claiming Wollo-Ri is not a nuclear facility: Support us over at !
info_outline Mysterious Explosions in Iran 07/06/2020
Mysterious Explosions in Iran In a cross-over podcast with FPRI’s Middle East Brief, Aaron speaks with Fabian Hinz, a frequent guest on the podcast, about the recent explosions in Iran and what open source intelligence has revealed about the two incidents. You can find the Foreign Policy Research Institute's Middle East Brief at: Support us over at !
info_outline Renewed Nuclear Testing in... the U.S.? 05/29/2020
Renewed Nuclear Testing in... the U.S.? John Hudson and Paul Sonne at the Washington Post broke the story that Trump administration officials have discussed conducting additional nuclear tests in the United States. Jeffrey and Anne discuss why this is a bad idea, how this would disproportionately benefit U.S. nuclear competitors, and the primarily political (not technical) utility of a "rapid" nuclear test. Support us over at !
info_outline What's Up with Turkey's S400? 05/27/2020
What's Up with Turkey's S400? Turkey previously announced that its S400 air defense regiment would be activated and in service by the end of April, 2020, after its delivery from Russia in 2019. Since it is now May 2020, with no S400 deployment in sight, Aaron and Scott sat down with Rob Lee for an in-depth talk about what could be holding it up. Rob Lee is pursuing his PhD at the Department of War Studies at King's College London. He was previously a Marine infantry officer and fellow at the Centre for Analysis of Strategies and Technologies (CAST). Support us over at !
info_outline Renewed Nuclear Testing in China? 05/22/2020
Renewed Nuclear Testing in China? The Wall Street Journal reported that "" based on the State Department's 2020 Annual , but that is not quite what the report actually says. Jeffrey and Anne sit down to talk about open-source tracking of the Lop Nur nuclear testing site, the difference types of nuclear-related tests, and how one little treaty could make a big difference in preventing actual nuclear explosive tests.
info_outline Iran's Satellite and the IRGC Space Program 05/12/2020
Iran's Satellite and the IRGC Space Program Iran launched a small satellite into orbit. But more importantly, it was Iran's revolutionary guards, not the civilian space program, that did the launching -- and with a new solid rocket motor as the second stage. Fabian Hinz joins Jeffrey to talk about the IRGC space program and break down its most recent launch. Support us over at !
info_outline Russia's Nudol Anti-Satellite Missile Test 05/01/2020
Russia's Nudol Anti-Satellite Missile Test In mid-April, Russia tested a direct ascent anti-satellite missile (DA ASAT), the Nudol/PL19, against a point in space. Anti-satellite weapons are an old favorite of the pod, so Anne, Aaron, and Jeffrey meet to discuss the history of anti-satellite weapons, the U.S. negotiating strategy that led to the spread of hit-to-kill and anti-satellite weapons, and the hypocrisy of certain PR statements. They also gush over open-source collection and analysis of NOTAMs, which allowed Michael Thompson to predict the ASAT test ahead of time. Check out previous Arms Control Wonk episodes about Hit-to-Kill and Anti-Satellite Weapons: 2019's 2016's 2014's Support us over at !
info_outline The IAEA's questions for Iran 04/17/2020
The IAEA's questions for Iran The International Atomic Energy Agency has questions about three sites in Iran -- but Iran doesn't feel like answering. Aaron, Anne and Jeffrey discuss the atomic archive, access to suspect facilities, and environmental sampling. Plus, there are a few things in recent IAEA reports that worry us. Support us over at !
info_outline Tracking the PLA Rocket Forces 04/15/2020
Tracking the PLA Rocket Forces The People's Liberation Army Rocket Forces used to be a nearly opaque organization to all but a few open-source researchers. Now, increased availability of satellite-imagery and public media enable open-source exploitation and tracking of PRC missile forces like never before. joins Jeffrey and Scott to discuss open-source tracking PRC missile brigades, his geolocated order of battle KMZ, and the increasing accessibility of open-source research methods. Links of Note: Decker's blog and PLARF ORBAT in KMZ form: Support us over at !
info_outline Mort Halperin and the Okinawa Decision 04/10/2020
Mort Halperin and the Okinawa Decision Mort Halperin a giant as an academic and a policy practitioner. And he's working on a memoir that covers his sixty year career in foreign policy. Mort played an important role in the US decision to revert Okinawa to Japanese control without nuclear weapons -- a case study Jeffrey teaches in is class on decision-making. Jeffrey talks to Mort about that pivotal period in US-Japanese relations. Support us over at !
info_outline Biden and the Bomb 03/26/2020
Biden and the Bomb Joe Biden is the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee. While the popular perception of Biden is that he's quite moderate, on nuclear issues he's always been relatively progressive. Aaron and Jeffrey discuss Biden and bomb. Support us over at !
info_outline The PLA Rocket Force's Rapid Expansion 03/24/2020
The PLA Rocket Force's Rapid Expansion China's People's Liberation Army Rocket Force (PLARF) has been very busy in the last few years, testing new high-tech missiles and standing up new launch brigades. Superproducer Scott joins Jeffrey and Anne to talk about reports of the PLARF test launching over 100 missiles in 2019, rapidly expanding since 2017, and some of the data issues with analysis of the PRC's nuclear and missile arsenal. Links of Note: The PLARF launched over 100 missiles in 2019: The PLARF stands up 11 brigades since 2017: Support us over at !
info_outline Visualizations and Verification 02/26/2020
Visualizations and Verification James Palmer of the UK's Atomic Weapons Establishment joins the ACW trio to talk about the importance of 3D modelling and data visualization, including recreations of North Korea's Punggye-ri nuclear test site and virtual reality training simulations. Links of Note, Courtesy of James Palmer: Posters with example images (click ‘Download Poster’ on page): Software discussed during podcast. GeoVisionary: Cesium: Support us over at !
info_outline Iran's Space Launchers and Solid Missiles 02/20/2020
Iran's Space Launchers and Solid Missiles Iran tested a satellite launch vehicle, and it failed. But this isn't a reason to cheer. Iran showed off a lot of goodies this month, pointing to an active solid-propellant missile program and has no said a future satellite launch is going to use a solid-propellant space launch vehicle. This is bad news. Aaron and Jeffrey talk about Iran's space program and why we should embrace the Simorgh and worry about the future. Support us over at !
info_outline Investigating PS752 with Open-Source Intelligence 01/22/2020
Investigating PS752 with Open-Source Intelligence After the on U.S. forces in Iraq, the IRGC appears to have accidentally shot down a Ukrainian airliner flying out of Tehran. The Iranian government took about 3 days to admit that it was shot down, initially denying that it was shot down. Prior to the admission, the Arms Control Wonk Podcast slack channel jumped on the case and started a collaborative open-source intelligence effort to figure out what actually had happened and if Iran's denial held water. Friend of the pod joins Jeffrey to talk about the Arms Control Wonk Podcast slack channel's collaborative OSINT efforts at tracking down details of Ukraine International Airlines Flight 752, including tracking flight paths, pulling satellite imagery, and locating videos based on sound cues. Support us over at !
info_outline Iran’s Missile Strikes in Iraq 01/14/2020
Iran’s Missile Strikes in Iraq As it turns out, the ACW trio thinks that Iran’s missiles are accurate. Super accurate. As Anne flies across the United States, Aaron and Jeffrey spoke about Iran’s ballistic missile strikes Ain Assad Air Base in Iraq, why the strike on Erbil may have been an outlier, and how nobody is in control of escalation. Support us over at !
info_outline Iran's Fifth Step 01/08/2020
Iran's Fifth Step The ACW crew discusses the JCPOA...again. Iran has announced its 5th step away from the JCPOA. The trio discusses what that means, what it doesn't mean, and where we go from here. And, for your ease of reference, Iran's Five Steps: May 2019: No longer limit stockpiles of LEU or heavy water July 2019: No longer limit uranium enrichment to 3.67% September 2019: Abandoned all limits on R&D for new centrifuges November 2019: Resume uranium enrichment at Fordow, . January 2020: Abandon limits on number of centrifuges. Support us over at !
info_outline The U.S.'s Post-INF Ballistic Missile 12/12/2019
The U.S.'s Post-INF Ballistic Missile Launch a missile, get a pod, post-INF Treaty edition. On December 12, 2019, the U.S. Air Force and the Strategic Capabilities office tested a "prototype conventionally-configured, ground-launched ballistic missile" from Vandenberg AFB. The trio talks Twitter hot takes, the Strategic Capabilities Office, the future of U.S. missile procurement, and the future of intermediate-range ballistic missiles. Support us over at !
info_outline North Korea's Mysterious Engine Test 12/12/2019
North Korea's Mysterious Engine Test Sohae is open for business! The ACW Gang talks North Korea's recent engine test at Sohae and marvels (again) at the power of satellite imagery. Was this test Kim's "Christmas Gift" to Trump? Or just a stocking stuffer? Support us over at !
info_outline The Future of Opens Skies 12/12/2019
The Future of Opens Skies What is the future of the Open Skies Treaty? The Arms Control Wonk trio talk the Open Skies Treaty, the conspiracy theories that now permeate the debate about Russian aircraft, and why the treaty matters. Support us over at !
info_outline Iran's Four Steps 11/13/2019
Iran's Four Steps Iranian President Hassan Rouhani has announce yet another "step" away from the JCPOA, the fourth this year. As Iran resumes feeding UF6 into some of the cascades at the Fordow Enrichment Plant, Anne and Jeffrey discuss the steps that led us here and the prospect for preserving the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action. Support us over at !
info_outline China's 70th National Day Parade 11/06/2019
China's 70th National Day Parade Everybody loves a parade, especially one with missiles and drones. Superproducer Scott joins Jeffrey and Anne to discuss the new hardware displayed in early October, and how great it is to watch the . Scott has waited seven years for this parade, so that he can finally get a legitimate high-resolution shot of the DF-41 solid propellant ICBM. Less expected were the DF-17 hypersonic glide vehicle, the JL-2 submarine-launched ballistic missile, the "WZ-8" air-launched rocket-powered drone, and, of course, the almighty gyrocopter. Support us over at !
info_outline Tailkits and the Turks: US Nuclear Weapons in Turkey 10/15/2019
Tailkits and the Turks: US Nuclear Weapons in Turkey The New York Times reported recently that US officials are considering removing US nuclear weapons from Turkey. Aaron knows a bit about this, so Jeffrey called in from his car on the road to San Francisco, and Anne called in from a foggy Monterey to talk about nuclear weapons in Turkey. Producer's Note: Due to the impromptu nature of this podcast, audio quality is poor. Apologies for any gnashing of teeth. Support us over at !